Canadians will pay more for Justin Trudeau’s failure at the border

PRESS RELEASE | MP Bernard Généreux condemns Liberal indifference to Canadian taxpayers, following the Parliamentary Budget Officer’s estimate of the cost of processing migrants who cross Canada’s border illegally.

At the request of Manitoba Conservative MP Larry Maguire, the Parliamentary Budget Officer assessed the average cost per irregular migrant entering Canada in 2017–2018. He found that it cost $14,321 per person last year, which is expected to rise to $16,666 in 2019–2020. These costs are projected to be between $208 to $538 million for 2018–2019 and $211 to $606 million for 2019–2020, a significant increase from the $173 million predicted by the Trudeau government in the federal budget.

This amount represents only those expenses assumed by the federal government and does not include provincial government expenses such as health care, which does not have the usual three-month wait time that applies to Canadian citizens and permanent residents, and social housing in major cities like Montreal and Toronto. The Trudeau government has still not followed up Quebec’s request for reimbursement of the $146 million it incurred in 2017, and has offered the province only $36 million.

“It has been almost two years since this crisis was sparked by the Prime Minister’s tweet #WelcomeToCanada on January 27, 2017,” said Bernard Généreux. “While the number of illegal entries totalled only 2,464 in 2016, it increased to 20,593 people in 2017, and had reached 17,120 as of October 31, 2018. Justin Trudeau has done nothing to correct the situation, and Canadians will have to pay for his incompetence.”

The MP finds it particularly frustrating that many businesses in Montmagny—L’Islet—Kamouraska—Rivière-du-Loup grapple with long delays for work permits and immigration visas to bring legal foreign workers into the riding.

“During my tour of local businesses and the round table I held last week in La Pocatière with my colleague and immigration critic Michelle Rempel, I frequently heard about the bureaucratic wall that our businesses run up against. Processing times are getting longer and longer, while we face a labour shortage,” said Généreux. “Business owners are shorthanded, yet they see illegal migrants go to the front of the line, while our potential immigrants have to go through an exhaustive evaluation of their file outside the country and wait for approval. It is time for the Prime Minister to stop making Canadians pay for his inaction and support an immigration system that truly meets regional needs.”

The full report by Parliamentary Budget Officer Yves Giroux is available online at: